Lower-income households worry about hunger, homelessness

Lower-income households worry about hunger, homelessness

More and more lower-income U.S. adults say they worry “a great deal” about hunger and homelessness, according to a recent Gallup poll.

An average of 67 percent of U.S. adults in lower-income households said they are concerned, up from 51 percent in 2010–2011.

Rising concern

And even though middle- and upper-income U.S. adults are much less worried than lower-income respondents, concern has risen in those households in the past six years too. About 47 percent of middle-income households are worried and 37 percent of upper-income homes say homelessness and hunger concerns them.

Overall nearly half of American adults (47 percent) worry about hunger and homelessness “a great deal,” according to the survey conducted March 1–5. Concern over these issues was as low as 35 percent in 2004.

“It is unclear why Americans are worrying more about hunger and homelessness now since it is an ever-present problem,” said Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup’s senior editor. “But at times the issue may fade from public consciousness when other matters dominate the national agenda. It is possible that greater concern will lead to greater public pressure for action on the issue.”

The concern reported about homelessness and hunger now ranks as high as, if not higher than, concern about most other issues brought up by Gallup’s yearly environment survey. The availability and affordability of health care is the only one significantly higher with 57 percent of adults reporting a great deal of worry about that topic.

But that doesn’t stay true when it’s isolated to lower-income Americans — hunger and homelessness is still their top issue and is 20 points higher than their middle-income counterparts, Gallup reported. (TAB)